Sint Maarten – Saint-Martin is a tropical island in the northeast Caribbean, at 250 km north of Guadeloupe and 240 km east of Puerto Rico. The island, with an area of 98 km², is divided approximately into equal parts between France and the Netherlands, being one of the smallest inhabited territories shared by two nations. The southern part of the island is called Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands and the northern part of the island is called Saint-Martin and is part of the French overseas region of Guadeloupe.
The average daytime temperature is around 27° C, and the mercury rarely strays beyond the 20° C to 30° C range.
St. Martin – St. Maarten Island coast is cut in many bays with 30 beaches, but there also are some bays bordered only by gravel. There also are several freshwater lakes such as Grand Étang de Simsonbaai, Étang aux Poissons, Étang Chevreau, Étang Guichard, Étang de Grand Case, Great Bay, Grand Etang des Terres Basses, etc., that are formed in bays closed by sand bars. The rest of the coastline is mostly steep, with cliffs that sometimes reach 40 m.
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The main industry of the island is tourism, and the Dutch part of the island is thought to be a tax haven. The island has an airport on the Dutch side, the Princess Juliana International Airport, with the code IATA SXM, being the second airport in the Eastern Caribbean in terms of passenger traffic, after the one in Puerto Rico.
In order to travel easily from the Dutch to the French side and back, most visitors rent cars, motorcycles, or scooters. As a tip, it is cheaper to rent a car from the Dutch side (St. Marteen) because of its varying exchange rates (it will cost you from $30 up to $50 per day).
The price of a taxi starts at a low of $7.
Bus fares run from $1,50 up to $3.
Where do you sleep in St. Martin – St. Maarten?
If you prefer to stay at one of the finest all-inclusive resorts expect to pay from $350 up to $1,000 and more per night. In case you want just to rest at an expensive hotel you will pay anywhere from $250 up to $850 per night, while a night at a smaller inn runs from $80 up to $190. Another option would be to rent a property from the island for the average price of $100 $300.
Tip: during the off-season, the prices drop from 20% to 50%.
Where do you eat?
The St. Martin – St. Maarten island has around 300 restaurants for both tourists and locals.
If you would like to try something new you could make a stop at the roadside food trucks for some take-away with the best Suriname food, like Chicken Sate with Bami or Soato Soup.
In case you’re not so open in trying new tastes you can also find on the island all types of American fast foods like Subway, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, and so on.
If you choose to eat from a roadside food truck or fast food you will pay around $10 per meal, while at a restaurant prices start at $10 and go as high as $26 or even $35 per meal. Fine dining at a French or Italian restaurant costs over $35 per person.
St. Martin – St. Maarten is a fantastic destination for:
• snorkeling and diving
• shopping and dining
If you go with your kid/kids a fun thing to do would be to go ziplining and hiking in St. Martin. The courses take from 45 minutes to 2 hours and the price starts at $28.
If you ever dreamed to have your own perfume now is your chance. For a price that starts from $82 per class, from one to three hours, you can learn how to mix your own perfume, choosing from 300 essential oils. Just make sure to book in advance.
On St. Maarten you can learn how to sail and race a yacht. The price for a race excursion starts at $75 and a sailing trip costs $104 per person, with fruity rum drinks and round-trip hotel shuttle included.
You can also learn about the local history in Marigot and Philipsburg.
You can discover the St. Maarten’s fascinating history at the local museums. Visit the Sint Maarten National Heritage Foundation & Museum from Philipsburg, free entry, because it covers the Dutch history of the island.
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The St. Martin museum, from Marigot, presents you the island’s flora and geology, the period before European contact and the first European settlements, for $5 per person.
The working program, for both, is from Monday till Friday, and some hours on Saturdays.
Watch aircraft fly overhead on St. Maarten
The Maho Beach is worldwide known for the airplanes, Boeing 737, that fly low overhead. So, if you wish to catch a photo, grab your camera for the best aircraft spotting between noon and 4 p.m. on weekends.
If you really want to relax on your vacation, St. Martin – St. Maarten has plenty of beaches and it is so easy to find a hammock or a lounge chair and spend your days in, reading a book.
Should the average working family visit St. Martin – St. Maarten?
Although St. Martin – St. Maarten island isn’t very cheap, it should be on your travel list, especially if you have enough money for an overseas trip. But before you do, be sure you have enough money, and also make sure that by going on a trip like this you won’t put your financial safety at risk.